This is a letter written by a prison inmate to his wife and son right before Christmas. It is based on a story told to me by a prison inmate while I served through The Prison Fellowship Ministry.
My Dear Beloved,
As I sit here so close to Christmas, thinking about you and that boy of mine alone without me because of what I have done. You are there to handle things alone; especially our son’s difficulty handling what has been dealt him through no fault of his own. I know how hard it has been for you; when he was caught smoking dope and wondering around at all hours of the night. He is self-destructing; as I was.
I have had a lot of time to think in here. As painful as it is to go, God has used others to reach down to us. When I got here, I heard about a thing called “The Prison Fellowship”. I didn’t know what this was, but it got me out of the cell for a while. It was kind of boring at first. All they wanted to talk about was life in here, life at home, and how we were dealing with things. Then they said something that really shook me to the core. They started telling me about this guy called “Jesus Christ” and how he could give me a brand new start and make all things new. A bunch of crap I had never heard before. I met others in here that had accepted this “Jesus”. Their lives seemed to really have changed. I started paying attention. It did something to me; inside!
Thinking about this thing; it just wouldn’t let go of me. I had a dream one night. In the dream Jesus sat down beside me and told me if I wanted my family to come out of this and be okay, I should follow him. I woke up in a sweat. There was nobody there. That day I gave my heart to Christ. Things have been different. I now have hope things will get better for us and for our son.
The guys in the Prison Fellowship told me about other programs they have for the families. They have this thing called “Angel Tree” gifts where people buy Christmas gifts for kids who have parents in prison. They said they would see my son gets presents on Christmas from me. I cried! I had been so racked with guilt that I could not provide my son a good Christmas. The Prison Fellowship guy said not to worry; that over 1.7 million kids have one or both parents in prison. He also told me most are poor, just like us; that most of the children suffer problems, like our son, from all kinds of emotional/behavioral problems.
He also said he would get our son into a mentoring program and Angel Tree camp where he would learn more about God’s love as I did in here. I couldn’t believe so many people cared for people like us. He said 5,000 kids were in their mentoring program last year and 400,000 kids were reached through their programs. I pray enough people help this year to help the rest of the kids. What it has done for us cannot be measured. I have come to know Christ and my family will get the help it needs. This guy at the Prison Fellowship says that is called “The Great Commission”; taking the message of Jesus to everyone; just like they did for us.
PS: give this poem to our son when you give him the gifts from Angel Tree.
You’re Worth It All
The Lords hand was not too weak to deliver me.
The Lord disciplines who He loves and He loves me.
His ear was not too deaf to hear my cries.
He heard; now in His arms our destiny lies.
His word is a doorway through which His light shines.
His light is now shining bright; forgiving my crimes.
I know all the answers seem so far away.
But you and I will endure till the pain is gone to stay.
I know the pain you feel has you totally undone.
I know all hope seems gone and that you and I are done.
I know you feel lost and that you can’t be found.
Remember that I am with you; I’ll always be around.
When I return, I make you a promise what you will see.
You will get all I have, and even more, from me.
And even though I feel not good enough,
I now walk with His Son; showered in His love.
You’re worth it all to me; all the hurt and all the pain.
But God has a way of turning our pain into our gain.
When what I have to give won’t get it done.
I’ll depend on God for the rest through His Son.
So, though I am gone from you for a little while,
Know that I go with you; yes, every mile.
I gave myself up to the One I cannot see,
Because you, my dear child, are worth it all to me.